EUROPEAN BREAKDOWN COVER

SALE – 33% off European breakdown cover*

Don’t get stranded abroad

  • 24/7 rescue at the roadside
  • Help to get home if your vehicle can't be fixed
  • Five star Defaqto rated cover

*For annual European breakdown. Ends 31/05/24 9am.

*For annual European breakdown. Ends 31/05/24 9am.

Defaqto Expert Rated 5 star 2024

RAC European Breakdown Cover

Breaking down is the last thing you need when driving abroad. Call our 24/7 English-speaking helpline and we’ll get help as soon as possible. If your vehicle can be repaired, you'll be on your way. If not, we'll give you money towards repairs, or help with emergency accommodation or the cost of continuing your journey.

Choose your level of European breakdown cover

We offer two types of European breakdown cover for you to choose – read how they compare against each other below.

SALE 33% OFF*

RAC Comprehensive

Our trusted local experts will fix your vehicle at the roadside if you break down. And if they can’t, they’ll tow you to the nearest garage.
Get up to £500 accommodation expenses or up to £1,500 to continue your journey.
We’ll pay up to £150 towards garage labour costs, provided repairs are completed on the same working day.
Get 2 days unlimited UK roadside assistance before you depart, for all breakdowns over a ¼ of a mile from home.
You’ll always have access to our helpline – so you know you won’t be left stranded. And help is only a phone call away.
We’ll pay up to the market value of your vehicle to get it back to the UK, providing it’s not beyond economical repair.
If your vehicle can’t be fixed before you’re due to return, we’ll help get you and any passenger's home.
We will cover you for legal costs, up to a maximum of £100,000 per claim.
We cover a replacement train/ferry ticket for 1 missed connection, if the delay is caused by a breakdown.
SALE 33% OFF*

RAC Comprehensive Plus

Our trusted local experts will fix your vehicle at the roadside if you break down. And if they can’t, they’ll tow you to the nearest garage.
Get up to £1,200 accommodation expenses and/or up to £3,000 to continue your journey.
We'll pay up to £1,000 towards garage labour costs, provided repairs are completed within 7 working hours.
Get 7 days unlimited UK roadside assistance before you depart, for all breakdowns over a ¼ of a mile from home.
You’ll always have access to our helpline – so you know you won’t be left stranded. And help is only a phone call away.
We’ll cover all costs to get your vehicle back to the UK, providing it’s not beyond economical repair.
If your vehicle can’t be fixed before you’re due to return, we’ll help get you and any passenger's home.
We will cover you for legal costs, up to a maximum of £100,000 per claim.
We cover replacement train/ferry tickets for up to 3 missed connections, if the delay is caused by a breakdown.

*For annual European breakdown. Ends 31/05/24 9am.

European roadside assistance in 48 countries

24/7 English-speaking helpline

Help in 46 minutes on average, in France

Five Star Defaqto rated cover

What countries are covered by RAC European Breakdown Cover?

The RAC offers European breakdown cover in up to 48 countries across mainland Europe. These countries are split into Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3, so you can easily select the right cover for you and your trip. This includes, FranceSpainItalyGermany, Portugal and Belgium, as well as the Republic of Ireland

We also cover a range of other countries, including Albania, Armenia, Gibraltar, Moldova, Macedonia, Serbia and many more.

We also cover the offshore islands of all the countries within this zone.

Map of Europe showing which countries are part of Zone 1

We also cover the offshore islands of the countries within this zone, with the exception of Ceuta, Melilla or the Canary Islands (Spanish off-shore Islands).

Map of Europe showing which countries are part of Zone 1 and Zone 2

What’s included in RAC European Breakdown Cover?

Exactly what and how much you’re covered for depends on the level of cover you chose. With our Defaqto 5 Star rated cover you’ll always have access to our 24/7 English-speaking helpline – so you know help is only a call away.

Defaqto Expert Rated 5 star 2023

Here’s what else you can get with the RAC:

  • European roadside assistance and recovery.
    We'll arrange for a local garage to come out to you and inspect your vehicle – they’ll repair it at the roadside or recover it to the garage for repair.
  • Contribution to garage labour costs.
    If you’re taken to a garage for repair, we’ll cover any garage labour costs, either up to £150 (Comprehensive) provided repairs are completed on the same working day or £1,000 (Comprehensive Plus), provided repairs are completed within 7 working hours. Parts aren’t included.
  • Alternative travel or accommodation.
    If your vehicle’s in the garage, we cover up to £1,500 for your hire car or £500 towards hotel with Comprehensive cover. With Comprehensive Plus, we’ll cover up to £4,200 for your hire car and hotel.
  • Getting you and your vehicle back to the UK.
    If your vehicle can’t be fixed before you’re due to go back to the UK, we can help get you and your vehicle back home (as long as it’s not beyond economical repair).
  • Cover before your departure.
    If you break down in the UK and can’t be fixed before you’re due to leave, you can have a hire car to continue your trip to Europe.
  • 25% off travel insurance.
    When you buy European breakdown cover from the RAC, you’ll also get 25% off RAC Travel Insurance.
  • £100,000 towards legal fees.
    If you’re involved in an accident while abroad, we’ll give you up to £100,000 towards legal fees.

What is European breakdown cover?

European breakdown cover is a roadside assistance and recovery service that covers you when driving in Europe. If your vehicle breaks down abroad, having European breakdown cover means you can call out a local mechanic to help. They’ll aim to fix it at the roadside or arrange for it to be taken to a local garage.

When buying cover with the RAC, our English-speaking helpline will help arrange your roadside assistance. If the vehicle can’t be repaired before you travel back to the UK we’ll help you, your passengers and your vehicle back home.

Why do I need European breakdown cover?

Even if you have UK breakdown cover in place, you probably won’t be covered for European roadside assistance abroad. If you're planning to drive to Europe i.e. to France or Spain – make sure you have European breakdown cover. If you don’t have any, it’s time to start looking up European breakdown cover policies.

Our comprehensive European breakdown is for cars, vans and minibuses. You can also get:

Motorhome European breakdown cover
Motorcycle European breakdown cover
Caravan European breakdown cover

European breakdown cover gives you complete peace of mind if your vehicle breaks down in Europe. We’ll cover any garage labour costs, either up to £150 (Comprehensive) provided repairs are completed on the same working day or £1,000 (Comprehensive Plus), provided repairs are completed within 7 working hours.

Read more about driving abroad and why you should take out European breakdown cover before travelling.

How much does European breakdown cover cost?

How much you’ll pay for your European cover can depend on:

  • Your level of cover: we offer 2 levels of cover, Comprehensive and Comprehensive Plus. The higher the level of cover, the more protection you’ll have, and the more it will cost.
  • How long you’re away for: single trips usually costs less than annual cover. But, if you’re a regular driver in mainland Europe, annual cover can save you money in the long run.
  • Where you’re going: we’ve split countries into 3 zones and how much your cover costs depends on which zone (or zones) you’re driving in.
  • Your vehicle: the age, make and model of your vehicle can affect the cost of your cover, but we do offer European breakdown cover for older cars.

^^Based on the average costs of repatriation in 2022 by Opteven.

Do I need single trip European breakdown cover or annual European breakdown cover?

Whether you choose our single trip or annual cover really depends on how often you drive through Europe each year, and how long your trips are.

Single Trip European Breakdown Cover

Single Trip European Breakdown Cover protects you during a single return trip to Europe.

You can buy cover for a trip lasting from one day up to 90 days.

It’s ideal if you only plan to drive to Europe once or twice a year – as it’s likely to work out cheaper than an annual policy.

Cover for cars, motorcycles, motorhomes, and caravans.

Annual European Breakdown Cover

Annual European Breakdown Cover protects you for unlimited trips to Europe during the year.

For each trip, you’re covered for up to 90 days.

This type of cover is ideal if you regularly drive to Europe. If you travel more than twice a year to Europe, it’s likely to work out cheaper than buying single trip cover each time.

Cover for cars, motorcycles, motorhomes, and caravans.

What vehicles are covered by RAC European Breakdown Cover?

Our European breakdown cover isn’t just for cars. We also cover motorhomes, campervans, minibuses, vehicles towing caravans or trailers, motorcycles (121cc or over) and vans. They must be:

  • Registered as a private vehicle in the UK, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man
  • A maximum of 3,500 kg (3.5 tonnes) when fully loaded. This weight is called the gross vehicle mass (GVM)
  • A maximum of 7 metres long (including a tow bar), 3 metres high and 2.55 metres wide – including any load you’re carrying

Cars

Motorcycles

Motorhomes

Minibuses

Why the RAC offers the best European breakdown cover on the market1

Money.svg

We're the only provider to cover all costs for roadside assistance in Europe.

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With Comprehensive Plus you'll get a hire car and accommodation while your vehicle's being repaired – and we give you more to spend on both than anyone else.

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We're the only provider to cover all costs to get your vehicle back home, with our Comprehensive Plus cover (as long as it's not beyond economical repair).

1Comparison based on RAC Comprehensive Plus European Breakdown Cover against the top level of cover from other major providers as of 16/05/23.

Essential driving to Europe checklist

  • Vehicle log book (V5C) – this shows that you’re the registered keeper. We would need a copy of your log book to bring your broken down vehicle home. If you’re driving a hired or leased vehicle, you need the VE103 to show you’re allowed to use it abroad
  • UK sticker – needs to be displayed on the rear of your vehicle regardless if you have a EU symbol on your number place (not required in Republic of Ireland)
  • International Driving Permit (IDP) – If you don’t have a photocard driving licence, you’ll need to get an international driving permit. You can get one from the Post Office at a cost of £5.50. You may need more than one type depending on which countries you’re driving through. Find out more here
  • Trailer registration – Some commercial and non-commercial trailers must be registered before towing to or through most EU and EEA countries. If you plan to take out European caravan breakdown cover then it’s important to check your trailer before travelling. Find out more
  • Insurance green cards are no longer required for UK motorists driving in the EU

Read more about driving in the EU post-Brexit

Already broken down?

United Kingdom

inc. Northern Ireland

0333 2000999

Pay call

Republic of Ireland

0044 1919116112

1 800 535005 – Freephone from a landline

France & Monaco

0033 472435244

0800 942044 – Freephone from a landline

Rest of Europe


More reasons to choose RAC European Breakdown Cover


We've been helping motorists for over 125 years so we know how stressful it can be when your car breaks down. It can be even worse when you're driving in Europe, where you may not be able to speak the language. But don't worry, we're here to help.

Experienced case handlers to manage your breakdown from start to finish.

We’ll cover the cost to a local garage with unlimited European roadside assistance.

Best cover you can you get1 when driving in Europe.

In France, we’ll get to you within 46 minutes on average.

We repair 60% of all breakdowns at the roadside in France.

1Comparison based on RAC Comprehensive Plus European Breakdown Cover against the top level of cover from other major providers as of 16/05/23.

FAQs

Having European breakdown cover means you won’t be left stranded if your car breaks down abroad. We can repair your vehicle at the side of the road, or help you find a local garage if needed. If you don't have cover, you may find it more difficult to get help if you have car trouble while you're away.

European breakdown cover isn’t a legal requirement. But it’s important to have cover if you’re driving abroad. If you break down without cover, getting help can be expensive. And if you don’t know the language, it can be even more stressful.

With European breakdown cover, you’ll have an English-speaking person on the phone 24/7, who can arrange everything for you. And you’ll be covered for some or all costs for roadside assistance and garage labour, depending on what cover you pick.

Read more about driving abroad and why it’s important to take out European breakdown cover before travelling.

The RAC offer flexible options to suit your budget. ‘Comprehensive’ is our cheapest level of cover. The longer you go away for, the more your cover will cost. The price of your cover will also vary depending on how old your car is.

It’s worth knowing that single trip cover is cheaper than annual cover, as it only covers you for a one-off trip abroad. But if you travel to Europe regularly, annual cover can provide better value for money.

Yes, as cover is available on a single trip basis as well as annually.

The RAC has two different policies, so you can compare European breakdown cover against providers such as the AA and Green Flag.

Our RAC Comprehensive Plus policy also has a Defaqto Five Star rating. Enjoy complete peace of mind with emergency European Roadside Assistance and repair from the RAC. Our Comprehensive Plus cover also includes a contribution towards garage labour costs as up to £1,000, provided repairs are completed the same day.

If required, our European breakdown policies can help to get your car safely back to the UK – or repatriation, in other words. Again, there are different levels of cover depending on your policy. Comprehensive has vehicle repatriation cover up to the market value of the insured vehicle, and Comprehensive Plus has all costs covered. This is providing your vehicle is not beyond economical repair.

Breaking down without European cover means you’d need to find a recovery company and garage. This can be tricky, especially if you don’t know the area and you don’t speak the language.

You’ll also have to cover all recovery and labour costs yourself which can be amplified if your vehicle can’t be fixed and you need to cover the cost of getting you and your vehicle home.

With both Comprehensive and Comprehensive Plus, you’ll have pre-departure cover in the UK before you leave for Europe. This means you can get roadside assistance before your trip and a hire car to get to Europe if needed.

What you’re covered for depends on the level of cover you choose:

  • Comprehensive: You’ll have roadside assistance in the UK up to 2 days before you’re due to leave the UK and a hire car for 6 days.
  • Comprehensive Plus: You’ll have roadside assistance in the UK up to 7 days before you’re due to leave the UK and a hire car for 23 days.

No. If you haven’t added European breakdown cover to your policy, your standard RAC Breakdown Cover policy will only cover you in the UK.

If you’re unsure, it’s worth checking your policy documents to see exactly what’s included in your cover. You can also log in to myRAC to check your cover.

If you break down abroad but you don’t have European breakdown cover, unfortunately we won’t be able to help you get back on the road. That’s why it’s important to get European breakdown cover sorted before you leave the UK.

Instead of calling us for help, you’ll need to make your own arrangements. For example, you’ll need to find a local recovery company to rescue you, as well as a garage you can trust to fix your vehicle. You’ll also have to recover all these costs yourself.

Yes you can – RAC Temporary Car Insurance offers short-term insurance policies for trips of up to 30 days for cars, vans and motorhomes and allows you to extend this to cover driving in Europe – perfect if you’re borrowing a vehicle or sharing the drive and need comprehensive cover in place. Choose from between 1 hour and 30 days of cover, and you’ll be covered to drive almost instantly.

Some car insurance policies will cover you for a number of days driving in Europe, but it depends on your insurance provider. You should always check your car insurance policy documents before starting any trip to ensure you have the right cover in place.

You could choose to purchase a comprehensive short-term insurance policy and add additional European cover. Tailor your policy for up to 30 days of cover, purchase online, and you’ll be covered to drive almost instantly.

Read more about our temporary car insurance.

RAC European Breakdown Cover is separate from your UK membership, so you don’t need to be an RAC member to get it. But if you are an RAC member, you can access all your policy documents and details for your European cover through your normal myRAC account, and in the myRAC app.

You can drive to Europe from the UK, but you need to follow the requirements of the country you’ll be travelling to. At a minimum, you’ll need your UK driving license, valid insurance, and your vehicle documentation, but many countries ask more of UK drivers. Find out everything you need to drive in different parts of Europe.

You can drive a UK car in Europe, but you need to have the right insurance, documentation, and car equipment to make sure you’re following the correct driving rules.

You’ll need:

  • A valid driver’s licence
  • Valid vehicle insurance
  • Vehicle registration documents (your log book, or a VE103 if you’ve rented your vehicle)

You may need:

  • Emissions stickers (for certain European cities)
  • Headlight converters
  • A UK sticker
  • A reflective jacket and warning triangle in the car

While your right-hand drive vehicle will not be a problem, if you don’t have the correct legally required items, you may face a penalty. So be sure to check the local rules before you travel.

Yes, you can use a European disabled badge in the UK.

When the UK left the European Union in 2020, they stopped being a part of the EU Disabled Parking Scheme. Since then, they have informally agreed to recognise the EU disabled parking card in the UK.

If your vehicle breaks down when you’re travelling in Europe, there’s no need to panic:

Pull over safely. Make sure you’re away from traffic or on the hard shoulder.
Get out of your vehicle. Keep a safe distance from moving traffic.
Call for assistance. Tell us your location and we’ll talk you through what happens next.

Things you need to know when travelling in Europe

There are a number of requirements that you may not be aware of when driving in Europe, so we’ve created article on all the things you need to remember to take with you in a handy checklist with 20 top tips to help you be prepared before you depart on your trip. 

European driving kit from RAC Shop

European Driving Kits

No matter what country in Europe you are driving, we have a European Driving Kit to suit your needs.

Red warning triangle near a breakdown

Driving in Europe checklist

This essential checklist will tell you everything you need to know for driving in Europe, from what to take with you to things to remember when you get there.

A winding road in the alps

10 lesser-known French road rules

To help you out, here’s an overview of the quirkier French motoring rules you might not know about.

Defaqto Expert Rated 5 star 2023

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